Design A Book Cover - Graphic Design Basics | Wendy Fessler | Skillshare

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Design A Book Cover - Graphic Design Basics

teacher avatar Wendy Fessler, Graphic Designer, Art Director

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Design A Book Cover introduction


    • 2.

      Lesson 1A: SYMMETRY Overview and Inspiration


    • 3.

      Lesson 1B: SYMMETRY Class Project 1


    • 4.

      Lesson 2A: SCALE Overview and Inspiration 1


    • 5.

      Lesson 2B: SCALE Class Project


    • 6.

      Lesson3A: FRAMING Overview and Inspiration


    • 7.

      Lesson 3B: FRAMING Class Project 1


    • 8.

      Design A Book Cover Wrap Up


    • 9.

      Design A Book Cover Mockup


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About This Class

Have fun designing a book cover! Sharpen your design skills and play with how to arrange and scale visual elements to catch the eye. This class includes three lessons, each lesson includes an overview of a core visual principle and inspiration examples from award winning book covers. Students will have a chance to use each principle themselves in a book cover design.  Class Project book cover copy and images are provided - but students can design a cover for a different book if they like.

For beginning or intermediate designers, anyone who wants to challenge themselves to try a new design project. Designers can use their preferred design software.


Meet Your Teacher

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Wendy Fessler

Graphic Designer, Art Director

Level: Beginner

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1. Design A Book Cover introduction: Hi there, I'm Wendy Fessler and I'm a graphic designer. In the world of graphic design, there are constant updates to the software and programs. And I find taking classes on skill share really helps me to stay on top of those updates. Often after I take a class and still looking for ways to experiment with those new skills on a design project. That's why I developed this class. Design a book cover is one of a series of design projects. This class gives you a chance to experiment with book cover design. There are three lessons. Each lesson includes a quick review of a design principle, symmetry, asymmetry, scale, and framing. Your book cover concepts will be based on these principles, will get inspiration from the best book cover design out there. I'm providing copy and images for a Spanish language textbook cover, but feel free to design a new cover for your favorite book. Use your strongest designs on a book mock-up. Doing these design exercises will help strengthen your existing design muscles and might give you something new to feature in your portfolio. Plus, I think it's gonna be fun. 2. Lesson 1A: SYMMETRY Overview and Inspiration: Let's start with symmetry. A symmetrical layout is one where the layout is the same from top to bottom or side to side. As you can see from these covers, symmetrical doesn't mean boring. The designers are playing with color. The scale of the type and cropping of the image is to keep these symmetrical layouts. Exciting. Symmetry can help set the stage for a topic. For example, the perfect symmetry of the season reflects a very formal and tightly controlled world of the books subject, the debutante season. Sometimes a symmetrical design uses contrast to create tension on the book cover for the good rat, there is symmetry in the layout of the title and the photo, but that is in stark contrast to the content of the photo, a menacing gangster. And that contrast is what makes this cover so interesting. So symmetry can be used to heighten and already harmonious feeling, or it can be used in a contrasting way to get a viewer's attention. Asymmetry is just the opposite. Asymmetry is great when you want to create more energy in a layout and move your viewers I round. Asymmetry can be used in a very bold and dramatic way like these designs. Or it can be used in a more subtle way. These book covers are all mostly symmetrical, but each has an asymmetrical detail that really gives the design its impact. The a in jaws popping through the surface of the water. The water line being slightly angled and chances are just enough to catch your eye. And they unexpected angled cigarette on the cupcake ten of siderophores breaks up the very symmetrical layout and also direct your eye down toward the title. I loved those kind of small details. All right, now that you've seen some great inspiration, let's get started on your book cover design. 3. Lesson 1B: SYMMETRY Class Project 1: Okay, now it's your turn. Let's get started. There are so many lovely book cover designs out there, but the learning a language genre could certainly use your help. That's why I chose a Spanish language textbook for this class. I also selected a language textbook so that you could focus on trying out different arrangements of the graphic elements without worrying about coming up with a visual concept. However, if you do want to try out a concept for a totally different book, Go for it. Also, images will be supplied, but please feel free to use your own images if you like. Are you ready to get started? Jotting down some notes about who your book is targeting will help you determine the direction of your design and how symmetry or asymmetry can help reinforce that idea. You'll find a link to download the copy and a folder of free use images from UNSW Slashdot common project resources. If you use an image, please credit the photographer. Look at the copy and images and start thinking about what kind of book cover would catch your eye. Sketching a few thumbnail designs first, just on paper or on your tablet is a good way to try new layouts without getting caught up and making everything perfect. Upload your favorite concepts and include some notes about who your book cover is being marketed to. Take the concepts you think are strongest and continued to refine them on your computer. Experiment with different ways to execute your idea. When thinking about what typefaces to use, reference the book cover examples. Are there any that really struck a chord for you? Does the use of a bold san serif font versus his serif changed the field of the design. There are so many sites giving recommendations on what fonts to pair together. Here are two that I think are great. Type Wolf and font pair. Type wolf for inspiration and font pair to try out and actually download the fonts. Also just a wealth of good information there. These examples came from font pair. Notice how the fonts used together generally compliment in contrast with each other, a bold weight is used with the lighter weight or a sans serif font is used with the serif font. Is it challenging for you to stay symmetrical? I found it really hard. I forced myself to work within the rough boundaries of symmetry, but I always seem to wander back to asymmetry. Upload your favorite symmetrical or asymmetrical designs. I hope you have fun and try to few new things on the scale and framing next. 4. Lesson 2A: SCALE Overview and Inspiration 1: Let's talk about scale. Scale refers to the size and proportion of the design elements in a layout and how those design elements relate to each other. Take a look at how these book cover designs are using scales. So effectively. You can't get much more dramatic than the beautiful red a in the dictionary of the undoing. The a is so large that it makes the torn part of the letter even more intriguing. I love the oversight scale and cropping of the black and white face of the mainly modern. It contrasts so well with the tiny red bloodstain tissue and the size and position of the title. Same idea with the depot TE, using the fishnet hose at this size makes it feel very close and intimate. And the size and position of the type emphasizes that intimacy. In the prisoner of Guantanamo, the placement of the sliver of image running down the middle gives an importance despite its size, the narrow view gives you the feeling of looking through bars like a prisoner. Here's a few more covers to that are using contrasting scale. The size and position of the two small figures in the nickel boys grabs your attention, but also reflects the book subject matter, a reform school for boys where they were essentially abandoned. The visual dominance of the glass close in notes from the fog is so interesting. You almost have to lean in to see the very small museum style title, just as you would in an exhibit and blow up. The image is blown up so large that you can see the half-tones screen of the photo contrasting with the much smaller titled treatment. And in doxology, the author's name and book title or cropped really tightly. It's like the cover can contain them. And the haphazard placement of the letters gives it a Zi1 feel, hinting at part of the book subject. Deliberately enlarging or reducing the scale of the graphic elements in your layout not only makes their relationship to each other more visually compelling, but it can add meaning to your design. Now that you've seen some great examples of contrasting size and position, are you ready to experiment with scale yourself? 5. Lesson 2B: SCALE Class Project : Is this version of your Spanish language book going to be marketed to the same demographic? Does your design from the first exercise? I think I'm going to switch it up a little this time around. Think about how you can dial up the visual impact or give a twist to the copy by playing with the scale of the elements. Try scaling and image up or down, or enlarging one word or letter, or maybe go the opposite direction and make the type or an image fairly small and play with the color to get hierarchy. Upload your favorite concepts and include some notes about who your book is being marketed to. As you refine your concepts, take another look at your demographic audience and decided the images and style are paying it off. In my layouts, I was trying to appeal to someone who is more of a backpacker. Upload your favorite concepts. I can't wait to see them. 6. Lesson3A: FRAMING Overview and Inspiration : In the last lesson about scale, we saw how the size of an image or type can really give an importance or visual weight. Framing is the next step. It's the use of cropping and placement to draw attention to text and images. Every time you put a design element type or image into a layout, you are making framing decisions. Will your photo B smack dab in the middle of the layout, or will it bleed off the top? Your layout have a border framing your visuals? Or will the visuals be contained in a colored shape? These kinds of deliberate decisions can really dial up the visual punch of a layout. I hope you were inspired by these framing examples of crapping in placement. Now let's see what you can do. 7. Lesson 3B: FRAMING Class Project 1: Let's get started on the framing class project. I'm changing my demographic once again. As you begin your concept exploration, Take a look at the copy and images and imagine how using framing could help make your layouts more dynamic. Maybe try cropping and image very tightly or angling it. Be deliberate about the placement of your type in images. Upload your favorite concepts. I love how cropping an image in a new way or playing with the position of type can really give a layout and exciting new book. This is one of my favorite design tools. Upload your favorite designs. I'll be looking at each of them and providing feedback if you want. 8. Design A Book Cover Wrap Up: I hope you enjoy reviewing the visual principles of symmetry, scale, and framing through the lens of book cover design. I loved doing the research for this class. I was so inspired just looking at all of the book covers. There are so many great ones out there. Each one is working hard, like it's a poster for that particular book. I also hope that you're happy with the book covers shoe design. I can't wait to see them, so please be sure and upload them. Thanks for taking this class and I would appreciate any feedback. Have a great day. 9. Design A Book Cover Mockup: Hi guys. I am going to take you through the process of taking your Photoshop file and applying it to a Photoshop file book mock-up. Open up your book cover design in Photoshop. And also open up the Photoshop file that is included in the resources called free book title cover mock-up, PSD. When you have your book cover design opened up, select it, copy it, and then go back to the free book cover mockup. And go to the scroll down to the the layers. And you will see a layer that says Place cover here. Double-click on that smart object. And when it opens up, you will paste your, your image there. And then you may just need to scale up your image so that it fits. I took off the eyeball so you couldn't see that cover underneath that old cover, the pink and black one. Save it, and then go back to your the original file, the free book titled cover mockup. And you should see your book cover in position on the mockup. You can then go on and select, go down to the layer that shows that back cover. Select that, maybe take an eyedropper and pick a color that is on your cover selected and you can fill in the cover on that color, on that back cover. And then if you go down a couple of more layers, you can see where there is a background color. And you can just play with the sliders and choose a background color that you want. If you don't want this hot pink background color, which I did not. And then you just save it. And that is all there is to it. Thanks.